Saturday, February 24Not Your Ordinary English-Tagalog Dictionary

What is Chamber Pot in Tagalog? Brief History and Unique Uses

A chamber pot in Tagalog is called “arinola.” Also sometimes spelled arenola, the arinola is a portable toilet or receptacle used for urination and defecation indoors. Made from thin metal or plastic, the arinola is a round bowl with a handle and lid and resembles a very huge cup. This portable urinal is usually placed in bedrooms and hospitals. 

chamber pot in Tagalog
Money inside the arinola

Chamber pots are commonly used at night when people don’t want to go to the toilet or are unable to. Arinola is also used if there is no indoor plumbing. Some people put some water in the chamber pot before using it. In the past, people empty their arinola in the morning by throwing the contents out of the window or in the garden. 

The word ‘chamber’ is an old term for bedroom, with chamber pots being around since 600 BC but with different names. The ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used chamber pots that were mostly made of clay or ceramic. In Europe, wealthy families used chamber pots that were made of precious metals and with intricate designs. 

During the 18th century, chamber pots began to be incorporated into specialized furniture known as commodes or close stools. These were essentially wooden chairs or cabinets with a hole in the seat. This allows the chamber pot to be hidden from view. Commodes often featured decorative elements and were considered a status symbol. 

But as time passed by, indoor plumbing and flush toilets were invented and chamber pots started to become obsolete in a lot of households. Chamber pots are now primarily historical artifacts. They are sometimes displayed in museums to illustrate the evolution of sanitation practices. Arinola is now used only by elderly and heavily pregnant women. 

In the Philippines, arinola is no longer popular as a sanitary solution. Yet, you can still see some of them in the market and sari-sari stores. But interestingly, people don’t use them to relieve themselves or sell them. Instead, they use the arinola as a cash register and place their money in it. It is believed to be a lucky charm in business.

Use arinola in a sentence. 


Huwag mong kalimutang itapon ang laman ng arinola bukas ng umaga. 


Don’t forget to empty the chamber pot tomorrow morning.

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